Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi) Istanbul: what to expect, visiting tips

The Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi) in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world (550 years old). With more than 60 streets and over 4,000 shops, it is a shopper’s paradise and a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Istanbul. The covered bazaar attracts between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors every day.

The market was designed to serve as the center of trade and commerce for the Ottoman Empire, and was also an important hub for international trade between Asia and Europe. With 91,250,000 annual visitors, it was also ranked first and widely regarded as one of the world’s most important shopping destinations. You are able to find carpets, rugs, souvenirs, spices, jewelry and many other products.

Grand Bazaar is the symbol of the power of the Ottoman Empire. A must-see place, as well as a pleasant historical spot for those who want to shop in authentic environments.

Insider Advice: Kickstart your Istanbul adventure with the Istanbul E-Pass or Istanbul Tourist Pass. These passes provide free access to around 70+ top attractions, tours and essential local services in the city with around 70% savings.

Quick History

The Grand Bazaar was formerly constructed of wood, but it now poses a concern to the people who live in this era: the possibility of fire. The first fire started in 1546. It had such a profound effect on the population that the fire was regarded as a menace. It has, nevertheless, withstood several flames throughout the years.

People began to believe that, despite the fear of fire, The Grand Bazaar was recreated from its ashes over and again. It has also been hit by destructive earthquakes. It was renovated after the earthquake in 1766 II. The Beyazt and Nuruosmaniye gates, which reflect Tulip Era traits, were erected during the Mustafa period.

After another massive earthquake in 1894, it became obsolete. And the Grand Bazaar could not be used during this period. As a result, trade came to a halt. After all of the disastrous calamities, the bazaar, restored with Abdulhamid’s financial support, took on its current appearance.

Abdulhamid’s autograph may be found upon the gate of the Turkish Grand Bazaar at the main entrance of Beyazit Square as a result of his tireless work. Today, it has a cultural treasure that many people from Turkey and beyond the visit.

What to expect from your visit?

Grand Bazaar Istanbul is where the ancient texture meets Turkish coffee’s fantastic flavors and aroma. It is also one of the world’s finest and busiest enclosed bazaars. The bazaar welcomes its guests with over 4,000 shops today with its 22 entrances in total. It is home to a vast array of shops selling everything from traditional Turkish rugs, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, spices, and souvenirs.

Mosaic Ottoman lamps from Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Walking through the Grand Bazaar is a feast for the senses. The vibrant colors of the textiles and ceramics, the fragrant spices, and the sounds of bargaining and haggling create an exciting and lively atmosphere. You can easily get lost in the maze of alleys and shops, but that is part of the charm of the bazaar.

The bazaar offers the highest quality Turkish products, including handcrafted items, the finest silky shawls, and scarves embroidered with traditional patterns, antiques, and leather products for its visitors. It also offers a lot of shops where you can buy unique carpets and rugs. Traditional Turkish attire is also available.

Beautiful woman shows dried herbs or flowers while standing in front of a spice stall sold on stall in Egypt Bazaar in Eminonu,Istanbul,Turkey

In addition to shopping, visitors to the Grand Bazaar can also enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee or tea at one of the many cafes or stop for a traditional Turkish snack like baklava or Turkish delight.

Turkish delight (lokum) and Turkish coffee are also a must if you want to give a break during your stroll.

When visiting the Grand Bazaar, it is important to keep a few tips in mind. Bargaining is expected, so make sure to haggle for the best price. It’s also a good idea to bring cash, as many shops do not accept credit cards. Finally, you should be cautious of pickpockets and keep your belongings close at hand.

Hours and Fees

Entrance to Grand Bazaar is free of charge.


Tour Booking Advice



Grand Bazaar is open every day between 10:00 and 16:00 except Sundays. Closed on Sundays and national holidays.

Getting to grand Bazaar Tips

Grand Bazaar is located in Beyazit neighborhood, directly across the Beyazit Square, which belongs to Fatih district. See on google map.

For those coming from Taksim, Galata or Besiktas areas, can take the Kabatas-Bagcilar T1 tram line passing through Kabatas, Karakoy, Eminonu, Sirkeci, Sultanahmet and get off at Beyazit stop.

For those on the Asian side of Istanbul, can take the ferry to Eminonu or take the Marmaray line from Uskudar and get off at the Sirkeci stop. And than you can take the Kabatas-Bagcilar tram line passing through Eminönü and Sirkeci stops, and get off at Beyazit stop.

Related Posts